The Bureau of Land Management is again proposing an August spay study on 100 wild mares captured at the Warm Springs Herd Management Area in Oregon.
BLM aims to determine the feasibility of performing ovariectomies via colpotomy. This is a rare procedure which removes the ovaries by crushing and pulling them out with a looped-chain medical instrument called an ecraseur. This procedure opens the mares up to: serious risk from infection; evisceration (should intestines come through the incision); and hemorrhaging. There is a high frequency of post-operative complications affiliated with ovariectomy via colpotomy, some of which can be life-threatening.
BLM has gone down this road before: It’s twice proposed sterilization studies on mares from Warm Springs only to drop the plan after a public outcry and lawsuits filed, or threatened, by advocacy organizations.
The mares that BLM intends to use in the study were captured during a 2018 roundup at Warm Springs. The mares are being housed at the BLM’s Hines, Ore., corrals.
Of 100 that the procedure would be performed on, 28-34 would be returned to the range for the three-year duration of the study. The remaining mares would be offered for adoption.
BLM’s new study plan is largely the same as in previous attempts, with a handful of changes. These include: spaying only open (not pregnant) mares, not working with a university research partner (two universities dropped out of the study previously after public pressure) and creating an observation area about 15 feet from the chute where the surgeries will take place (an attempt to address concerns in previous litigation that the public would not be able to observe the planned procedures).